nl en

Law and Security


Admission requirements

Mandatory course for students enrolled in the bachelor’s programme Security Studies.


This course presents students with an overview of a number of key principles, insights, theories and lenses on safety and security from the field of law and legal science. Law and regulation are central themes for security and safety professionals. On the one hand, they guide practises of understanding and reducing risk – they are part and parcel of risk management processes. Law and regulation play a preventative role when it comes to addressing risk. In this respect they also have a governance and a political role to play. On the other hand, laws and regulations also come in when risks turn inadvertently into incidents: they are used in the aftermath of crisis and disasters to deal with the consequences thereof.

The course first of all provides students with an understanding of the roles of law in relation to security and how these relate to other forms of regulation. The general framework of different levels and bodies of law and regulation builds upon the roles of law. This is done by narrowing in on national legislation including the concepts of sovereignty and jurisdiction, international law and the branches of law (public international law, private international law and supranational law). Questions concerning conflicts of laws, which state has jurisdiction in a cross-border case and how this is decided will be touched upon. Relevant regional agreements and the mandate and functioning of international bodies that play an important role in security are also covered.

Key legal principles for dealing with risk - e.g. regulatory prudence and the precautionary principle - are elaborately discussed using scholarly papers as well as real life examples. This is followed by an in-depth study of guiding principles in law and security. Examples are drawn from counter-terrorism, criminal law, national security and law in/of cyberspace and include the legality, necessity and proportionality principles.

The course concludes by bringing together the above topics in discussing specific dilemmas related to law and regulation in the field of safety and security, e.g. tensions with international relations (states), public health, privacy and freedom of expression (citizens) and gathering of personal data.

Course objectives

After this course students are able to:

  • Acquire knowledge and understand the role of law in relation to security in our modern-day world, and the historical roots of this role;

  • Acquire knowledge of key principles, frameworks and ideas in relation to the legal landscape surrounding safety and security;

  • Assess the regulatory and legal aspects of approaching incidents and threats to safety and security;

  • Think independently, responsibly and critically and are aware of social and cultural differences and ethical dilemmas;

  • Identify and evaluate different legal and regulatory approaches and value their applicability for different safety and security challenges;

  • Identify and construct informed, considered and logical arguments (in oral and written form) about law and regulation in relation to safety and security challenges in both professional and academic settings.


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

7 plenary lectures
4 course labs in smaller groups

Attendance of the course labs is mandatory. If you miss more than 1 course lab you fail the course and won’t obtain a final grade.

Total study load of 140 hours:

  • Lectures and course labs: 33

  • Self-study hours (including assignment): 104

  • Examination: 3

Assessment method

Participation in course labs

  • 10% of final grade

  • Grade must be compensated

  • Resit not possible

Written Assignment

  • 20% of final grade

  • Grade must be compensated

  • Resit not possible.

Written exam

  • 70% of final grade

  • Grade must be 5.50 or higher to pass the course

  • Resit of a fail is possible.

  • Resit will take the same form

Transitional Arrangement
Passed partial grades obtained in year 2019-2020 remain valid during year 2020-2021. Students who did not meet the course lab attendance requirements in 2019-2020 are required to attend the course labs in 2020-2021.

Reading list

A selection of books and articles, to be announced on Brightspace.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis.
Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. Important information about the course is posted here.
After enrollment for the course in uSis you are also enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.